I can divide my friends into two groups: those who have moved on to new cities once they’ve grown up and those who never left the place they were raised. Love them all, but I will pretty much never understand why the latter choose to remain in one place all their lives. Moving somewhere new has always been a great decision, and I’d recommend it to anyone for all the reasons below and more.
1. Personal challenges/triumphs:
I grew up outside Chicago and might’ve been the only person in my high school that didn’t apply to any Illinois colleges. Starting school in Minneapolis without friends forced me to get out there and make new ones despite my introvert tendencies, giving me the confidence to do this every time I’ve moved to a new city. In fact, I moved to Richmond, VA right after graduation without knowing a soul there and came away with the best bunch of friends. After I left the safety of college, I figured out grown-up things like car ownership, taxes, health insurance, etc. without mom or dad around. You realize how nice it is to have family nearby when you’re sick or need help, but knowing you can take a bloody bike spill and still drive yourself to the hospital is pretty damn empowering. When you don’t have family nearby that’s obligated to help or familiarity to fall back on, but still succeed and come out stronger, you get to say things like “I CAN DO ANYTHING!!” (I obnoxiously say this a lot, I’m sorry. Sorry I’m not sorry).
2. New friends, amazing friends, friends on friends on friends:
Since high school, I’ve moved to Minneapolis, then Richmond, and now Brooklyn, and I have amassed amazing groups of friends in each of these cities. I can see why staying in one place is nice – I miss my friends in my ex-cities so very much – but it’s also fun to have so many people/places to visit. With each friend who didn’t grow up in the same place as you (often with a similar socioeconomic background), you learn so much about life outside your little adolescent bubble. Also, while I do fancy myself an independent woman, life is easier with the love and help of your friends, especially when family members are far away. Friends are the best, who doesn’t like making friends?
3. Go west, young (wo)man (except I went south and east):
I’ve always thrived off new experiences and love traveling, but visiting new places is entirely different from living somewhere. When you move to a new city, you absorb a whole new knowledge set, instead of just flitting about for a week or two being an observing tourist. You experience new weather patterns, adapt to new allergies (omg the pollen count in the South, you guys), see varieties of plants and wildlife. You learn about different neighborhoods and the stereotypes associated with people who live there. You figure out the best places to live, to shop, to eat, to work out, to show off when friends visit. You realize which cities rape you in taxes and the different ways each state’s drivers license exchange is done (no shocker, DMVs are terrible in every state). My brain is chockfull of information about every city I’ve lived in, and I love it.
4. Buying new stuff!
The neat-freak, minimalist in me loves moving to new places because I am forced to lighten my load and get rid of useless things that take up space. Picking out new furniture/décor and deciding on new color schemes are shallow but lovely reasons to pick up and move somewhere new. Oooh and I get to look at different apartments and figure out which is perfect for me; it’s my own personal HGTV show in my head with more sketchy Craigslist-perusing. Yes, moving across states is costly, but who can put a price on fun new adventures? (Plus, if you do it right, your work pays for relocation!)
5. Absence makes the heart grow fonder:
When I was growing up in Illinois, I was always antsy to GTFO, but now that I only visit once or twice a year, I look forward to my time there. I love catching up with old friends in various cities, driving around my old stomping ground(s) and seeing what has changed. Time spent with my grandma is no longer an often occurrence; it has become precious and a priority now that I’m gone (as it should have been all along). And boy, do I appreciate a home-cooked meal when I’m visiting family, now that time spent with the parentals has drastically dwindled and I fend for myself every day.
Someday, I might return home (except I’m not sure where that is anymore) and put down roots, but for now I’m happy being a touch nomadic. Some might chalk it up to fear of commitment, but I’ve grown so much as a person and met so many wonderful people because I’ve bopped around and would recommend it to anyone.
I get that you can be really happy with your family and friends condensed in one city, but don’t you ever wonder about exploring other places before you’re saddled with responsibilities like babies and spouses that make it difficult to pick up and go? What keeps you in the only place you’ve known forever? Is it fear? Complacency? I guess getting to claim “born and raised” is kinda fun, but do you ever tire of the same sights, places, streets? Someone, please explain this mystifying life choice of never leaving home to me, I simply don’t understand and am curious.